July 2010

July 26, 2010

Simply About Buns

The simplest behaviors can make a manager. Sometimes those behaviors don’t even need to be regular; they are allowed to be inconsistently regular in fact.

Take the experience of buns. Once in a while, even the most senior – or junior – of managers, can do something that to them seems so ordinary, yet to their people it signifies in a small, yet profound way, an extraordinary respect that it is hugely important in how they lead their team.

The unexpectedness of something can show how much a manager cares for their people.

In was a quiet afternoon in the business when he brought the buns. They weren’t expensive, but they were unexpected. Not that he’d never done it before, he had. Yet it was almost as if today was a great ‘nothing much happening’ sort of day that he recognized the opportunity to do a little more.

Now whilst some managers might have had their people screaming down the phones for more business; or wanted to chivvy their people along on a flat day catching up with the boring stuff that so often got left, this guy was different.

Reflecting on the successes of a good couple of weeks (bun reward has to have a context; be for a reason), he took a time-out to share a few minutes to thank the team with the buns. Buns that cost a couple of pounds.

He also took time to accept the offered cup of tea and to chew the fat about well, anything. It was being what he was good at. Taking the time to listen to his people be passionate and share their lives a little bit, for a few minutes on a flat day.

A small thing? Sure. And it’s the sum of small actions that create a relationship that employees value.

Just a few buns and a few minutes.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Management Development Tips, Managing Me by Martin

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July 12, 2010

No Time For Excuses

Maybe I’m a bit late for this, but I do need to revisit the demise of the England football team in the world cup.

There are no excuses. Perhaps many would say that overpaid superstars ought to have fared better and that there was no appetite for the game in our players. The Spanish players, after their victory last night, might have something to say about that.

Ask every one of our players and they would tell you that they went all out for success – that their focus was entirely on bringing that 5Kg 18 carat gold cup back home.

As for the manager, there seemed to be times when he was completely perplexed in the outcome and then every opportunity to find some excuse for the failing – the ones that weren’t down to him, of course – were rolled out.

Sometimes it’s about bad luck.

Ever the optimist, I’m of the opinion that bad luck had it’s part to play at a particularly critical moment in the game we lost to Germany.

Frank Lampard’s ‘goal that never was’ came just a time where we could easily have clawed our way back into the game and with Germany’s precocious young team hauled back from a 2-0 lead, who knows what might have happened then.

Indeed many worthy winners of the World Cup have had extraordinarily poor starts.

Yet as manager, the buck stops with us.

There is no place for excuses that we try to hide behind. We get paid to be successful and when we aren’t, we have to stand up and say that we, ourselves weren’t good enough and we must do better. Then our people trust us, bond better with us and we get up another day to learn and grow and achieve more next time.

Even if the linesman and the referee are the only two people in the ground who didn’t go to Specsavers.

Filed under Blog by Martin

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July 9, 2010

Time to be Honest and Real

“We all are what we are”

Carlos Ruiz Zafon in ‘The Angel’s Game’

Filed under Blog by Martin

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